Global Brand Marriott Models Community Collaboration

A global brand with a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Marriott Hotels is continually recognized and awarded for its range of initiatives and partnerships that put people first. Its values extend through all levels of its portfolio, evidenced through its work with local communities to create opportunities, value difference, and foster a positive sense of wellbeing.

“Marriott Hotels of Canada is deeply invested in creating a diverse and inclusive environment for our employees and guests,” explained Andrew Falkenberg, CHRL, Market Director of Human Resources at the Westin Ottawa and Delta Hotels by Marriott™ Ottawa City Centre.

In recent months, the Westin Ottawa and Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre established a collaboration with Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Inclusion program. An Employment Ontario program funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario, Destination Inclusion provided free tourism skills training and mentorship opportunities to racialized individuals in communities across Eastern Ontario.

“The purpose of this relationship is to create a deeper bond between our organizations and the community we serve,” added Andrew. “As we continue to address recruitment challenges within the hospitality industry, it is evident to our organization that our success is linked to solid relationships with programs like Destination Inclusion. Tourism HR Canada has created a program that caters to a widely diverse cohort of hospitality professionals and has prepared them to enter the workforce and provide immediate value to hospitality operators.”

The teams at both properties held a virtual engagement event for Destination Inclusion participants in May, followed by the Westin Ottawa hosting them on site for a guided behind-the-scenes tour of the property, including opportunities to engage directly with frontline staff and managers. The events were praised by participants and hotel staff alike.

“The students came very well prepared for interview questions and were very professional in their interactions,” shared Megan Macdonald, Front Office Manager.

Kayleigh Hanskamp, CHRP, Director of Human Resources Operations, added, “I was really impressed with the level of confidence of the students, and the wide variety of languages spoken by the group—always an asset in the hospitality industry!”

The collaboration has been a successful example of how businesses and community programs can work together to achieve common goals: offering equity deserving groups meaningful opportunities and skills while also diversifying the workforce.

“When working with Tourism HR Canada, the process was effortless and well organized,” Andrew stated. “As an employer, we were consistently updated with what candidates required and how we could best align to provide a supportive environment for the program attendees. Furthermore, Tourism HR Canada provided resources, suggestions, and solutions to ensure that we were prepared through virtual meet-and-greets, on-site tours, and behavioural-based interviewing sessions.”

“This has been a brilliant opportunity to connect with a dedicated employer and see how they make efforts to collaborate with community organizations and programing, how we can work together to demonstrate a model of collaboration, and how tourism businesses value diversity and inclusion in their workplaces,” explained Jasmine Qi, Senior Manager, Program Development and Innovation at Tourism HR Canada.

“Overall, our corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion values aligned seamlessly with Destination Inclusion’s goals,” concluded Andrew. “We are proud of the work done by this organization and are grateful for the opportunity to support this unique program.”

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